The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the Rotary Club of Binangonan for the clean-up of Laguna de Bay to restore biodiversity, as well as help improve waterflow, in time for the onset of the rainy season.

"The cleanup of water bodies does not only contribute to biodiversity conservation. They also mitigate flooding, which is part of climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction," said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

"This makes it an invaluable part of the DENR priority programs," he added.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, Rotary Club of Binangonan president Jerome C. Antiporda, and members of the Philippine Coast Guard took part in the Laguna de Bay Clean-up Drive Project on June 11.

The activity was part of the celebration of the Rizal Province’s 120th Foundation Day and Rotary Club of Binangonan’s 22nd founding anniversary.

The cleanup project, along with tree planting activities in several parts of the municipality, was conducted with the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) beneficiaries, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-Binangonan Municipal Jail, Tulong Pilipinas Movement Binangonan Rizal, Binangonan Riders United, Guardian Brothers, Philippine National Police, and the Bureau of Fire Protection, and other organizations.

"Malaki po ang maitutulong nitong proyektong ito hindi lamang sa Laguna de Bay, kundi pati na rin sa ibang karatig tubig nito tulad ng Pasig River at Manila Bay," said Antiporda.

Laguna de Bay, which is known as the largest freshwater lake in the Philippines and the third largest in Southeast Asia, is a major source of fish in the country. Its only outlet, the Napindan Channel, is connected to Manila Bay via the Pasig River.

Like other bodies of water in the country, biodiversity in the bay is under threat of uncontrolled development, population growth, and industrialization.

There is also an unmitigated proliferation of water hyacinth, commonly known as water lilies, considered an invasive species that causes a major obstruction to the flow of water.

"Huwag po sana tayong magsawa sa pangangalaga ng ating kalikasan at kapaligiran, sapagkat dito nakasalalay ang maayos, malinis, at maunlad na kinabukasan ng ating mga anak at ng ating Inang Bayan," said Antiporda.
Antiporda, who also heads the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force (APTF), has directed its members to prioritize the removal of water hyacinth in Laguna de Bay and Pasig River.

He said that local fisherfolk will also be employed to fast track the cleanup of these bodies of water. ###